Being a football star in a small Texas town, where football is king, is even tougher.
Boomer (yes, that’s his given name) Kendall has always had a thing for his best friend, Marsh’s little sister. She’s smart, she’s sassy, and she sprinkles F-bombs around like Tinkerbell throwing fairy dust.
Too bad Matilda blames him for everything that’s gone wrong in her life since she was 17 years old. The death of her parents, her brother’s football injuries, and the fact she ended up working as a lunch lady to put herself through college while Boomer got drafted into the NFL and struck it rich.
Needless to say, it’ll take a Christmas miracle to convince Matilda that he isn’t just looking to score, but Boomer’s more than up to the task.
“It’s a toy—”
“—for your pet.”
Nobody said a word. Especially not me. We just all stared at the large, orange…dog toy. At least, Mrs. Swift said it was a dog toy and, well, the tag said it was a dog toy. I was skeptical, and judging by the snickers that randomly punctuated the silence, I wasn’t alone.
God love her, Mrs. Swift had managed to bring the Bluebonnet Book Club Secret Santa Gift Exchange to a screeching halt with a 12-inch long piece of latex —I slowly wagged it back and forth, mesmerized as it swayed in my hand—or whatever, that looked a lot more like a dildo than a dog toy.
“Do I even want to know where she found that?” Betti Boudreaux muttered from my right.
“No,” I replied, keeping my voice low, “and neither do I.” For the love of football, it was even Longhorn fucking orange. My least favorite color. Furthermore, and most importantly, I did not own a fucking dog, or a cat, or a bird, or even a gerbil.
I sat there for the rest of the party silently praying somebody would steal the doggie dildo thing. A pained smile firmly in place, I kept telling myself that maybe someone would want to use it as a gag gift. Luck was not on my side and I said my good nights an hour later amid pitying looks and knowing, smirky grins from some of the other ladies. Including my sister-in-law, Louisiana.
“Enjoy that…dog toy,” she said as we walked down the sidewalk not an hour later.
“Better a dog toy than a teething ring,” I muttered under my breath. My nephew Moses was teething, and during the party, Louisiana had gone into very graphic detail about how many times he’d bitten her this week. Then a few of her friends had pitched in with their own baby biting horror stories. It was enough to make me want to double up on my birth control pills. When I suggested she stop breast-feeding, the Mommy Mafia had stared at me in horror. I might as well have suggested giving my six-month-old nephew Kool Aid, what with its sugar and Red Dye number 666.
“Oh,” she groaned dramatically and clutched at her chest, “I’ve got to get home and feed Moses before my boobies explode.”
We should be so lucky.
She circled my brother Marsh’s truck and unlocked the doors. “You coming, Matilda?”
“I’ll walk, thanks.” I turned left, away from her and the rest of the departing partygoers.
“Oh, Mattie, don’t be like that,” she shouted.
“I’m not being like anything,” I called over my shoulder. One would think the Mommy Mafia would appreciate the fact that I was walking the two blocks home, instead of wasting gas and trashing the environment their little monsters would inherit one day. “Good night, Louisiana,” I said, saluting her with the, ahem, dog toy, that I planned on ‘losing’ in someone’s bushes along the way.
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